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Sauber’s mantra for Indian GP: Pujari to bless cars,drivers

The Sauber F1 team will have their Ferrari-powered cars blessed by a pujari at the team’s paddock next Friday — the day before qualifying.

Written by Dhananjay Khadilkar |
October 21, 2011 12:51:50 am

Force India isn’t the only F1 team that will bring a touch of Indianness during the inaugural Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit. The Sauber F1 team will have their Ferrari-powered cars blessed by a pujari at the team’s paddock next Friday — the day before qualifying.

It will perhaps be for the first time that recital of mantras will be heard during a ‘car puja’ in a Formula 1 team paddock. Both Sauber F1 drivers,Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi,will also particpate in the puja that will be held between 9.20 and 9.40 am,a team spokesperson confirmed on Thursday.

The Sauber F1 team has a strong Indian connection in the form of its CEO Monisha Narang Kaltenborn,who was born in Dehradun. “The drivers,Kobayashi and Pérez,the team’s top management personnel and officials from the team’s Indian sponsor,Amul,will be present at the puja,” the spokesperson added.

The 40-year-old Monisha said the Indian Grand Prix will be a special experience for her and the team. The puja to be conducted at the team’s garage is just an extension of the CEO’s efforts to try and remain in touch with her roots.

“For me personally it will be a very special experience,because for the first time I’ll be able to combine my work with a visit back to the country of my birth and,moreover,as part of the inaugural Grand Prix in India. I made regular trips back while I was at school and studying. And my husband and I were married in India according to hindu tradition,so it was a big,colourful and very happy celebration,” Monisha said.

However,the puja before the Indian Grand Prix is unlikely to bring about a change in fortunes for the Sauber F1 team. The team would be more than happy to finish ahead of Force India,with whom they are locked in a tense fight for sixth place in the constructors’ standings.

“All in all,I’m quite happy with the season,especially when you think of the obstacles we’ve had to overcome since 2009. Our aim for 2011 was to make a clear improvement over 2010. We had a strong first half of the season overall. However,since then various factors have conspired to cost us points and chip away at the advantage we’d built up earlier in the year,” the team’s CEO said.

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